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Today's Top Artists Gather On-stage for Giants of Jazz at SOPAC on October 1

SOURCE: Published:
Albert Heath SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2011 at 9:00PM

SOUTH ORANGE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (1 SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ, 07079)

About Giants of Jazz

The New York Times called it the “premier (jazz) festival in the state."

Zan Stewart, jazz critic for the Star Ledger states it ..."is easily one of the top jazz show of the year...anywhere."

In 1998, the cream of the jazz world came to take part in Giants of Jazz, an amazing standing-room-only performance. Now in its thirteenth year, Giants of Jazz has become an annual music phenomenon—literally a one-night festival that has established South Orange as a major New Jersey venue for world-class jazz.

A Giants of Jazz highlight each year is the presentation of the South Orange Jazz Masters Award to a distinguished artist whose creativity has had a major impact on jazz performance and/or education. Previous recipients include renowned musicians Jimmy Heath, James Moody, Clark Terry, Frank Wess, Benny Powell, Dr. Billy Taylor, Frank Foster and Marian McPartland, and Slide Hampton.

Co-producer and South Orange resident John Lee, is the highly respected bassist, composer, educator and producer. Mr. Lee has played with the top names in jazz, is Executive Director of with the Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars, and serves as Program Director for “DIZZY ä : The Man and His Music."

The 2011 Jazz Master Honoree is Albert “Tootie" Heath, the first drummer to be honored. (Past Jazz Master Honorees include: Frank Foster, Benny Golson, Slide Hampton, Barry Harris, Jimmy Heath, Marian McPartland, James Moody, Benny Powell, Billy Taylor, and Frank Wess.) Performances by guest artists include, but are not limited to: Don Braden, Cecil Brooks III, Sharel Cassity, Cyrus Chestnut, Bob Cranshaw, Steve Davis, Michael Dease, Roberta Gambarini, Roy Hargrove, Winard Harper, Antonio Hart, Billy Hart, Louis Hayes, Jimmy Heath, John Lee, Russell Malone, T.S. Monk, Jeb Patton, Claudio Roditi, Michael Weiss, Frank Wess, Paul West, Randy Weston, David Wong, and Yotam. Beginning fourteen years ago, bassist, producer, and South Orange resident John Lee started organizing the Giants of Jazz Concert each fall. Each year South Orange would honor a world-class jazz musician at a benefit concert to raise money for the free summertime Concerts in the Park series. The concert series is presented every Wednesday evening in July at Flood Hill Park. These free outdoor concerts have become a tradition in South Orange. They attract many families and the picnic atmosphere always makes for a joyous evening of music and fellowship.

About Albert “Tootie" Heath

On October 1, 2011 Albert “Tootie" Heath will be honored at the 14th annual Giants of Jazz concert in South Orange, N.J. Tootie is the first drummer to be honored by Giants of Jazz.

Tootie Heath, is the youngest of the legendary Heath Brothers and like his siblings he has been a major force to the music we call Jazz. During his career Tootie has worked and recorded with Wes Montgomery, JJ Johnson, Tommy Flanagan, Herbie Hancock, Barry Harris, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Monk, Joe Pass, Billy Taylor, McCoy Tyner as well as his brothers, Percy and Jimmy Heath, and many, many more. “Tootie," the youngest of the famed Heath brothers, has worked and recorded with John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, JJ Johnson, Dexter Gordon and Cedar Walton as well as putting the beat in the Heath Brothers.

Born March 31, 1935 Tootie debuted as drummer in 1957 with Jihn Coltrane. During the late 1950's nd early 60's he worked with JJ Johnson, Cedar Walton and Bobby Timmons. Hea appears on many recordings for Riverside Records and toured Europe with Kenny Drew, and Dexter Gordon. During the late '60's Tootie worked with Herbie Hancock and with Yusef Lateef during from 1970 to 1974. In 1975 Tootie joined his brothers and created the sound of the Heath Brothers. Tootie's musicianship is legendary. He has continued the bebop tradition and while staying with current concepts.


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